Washington, July 21: The failure of both Afghan and US agencies to tighten control over Afghanistan’s financial sector has stymied efforts to track billions of aid dollars poured into Afghanistan’s economy in the past decade, auditors have revealed.
According to Afghan officials and a new US government audit released by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, pointed out that a lack of US coordination compounded by Afghan foot-dragging has prevented the efforts to track billions given to Afghanistan for aid and reconstruction efforts.
The report focused on fumbled efforts to monitor large amounts of cash moved through the country’s main commercial airport, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Because of the level of corruption in Afghanistan and the continuing insurgency, the US government’s lack of visibility over its funds is a significant concern,” the audit stated.
“Reports of as much as 10 million dollars a day in cash leaving the Kabul International Airport have added to these concerns,” it added.
The US has appropriated over 70 billion dollars for aid projects in Afghanistan.
Officials worry that because of the lack of oversight, a significant chunk of those funds, along with other Western aid, have been siphoned off by corrupt officials or have ended up in the hands of militant groups, most of which are loyal to the Taliban, the paper said.
Efforts to track the flow of money have increased in recent years with four US agencies committing over 20 million dollars to monitoring Afghanistan’s financial sector.
Coordination among different US agencies creates the risk that US-funded programs may work at ‘cross purposes,’ the audit stated.
Likewise, the audit faults the US military and civilian agencies for relying on cash transactions to pay contractors, leaving funds vulnerable to misuse or diversion, the paper said.
The audit also stated that the country’s formal banking system is also riddled with problems, and Afghan officials have stymied efforts to improve regulation. (ANI)